Ryanair boycott: Budget airline's decision not to remove racially abusive man from flight sparks outrage

Harriet Agerholm

Customers have threatened to boycott Ryanair after airline staff failed to remove a racially abusive man from a flight.

Footage of a white man calling a woman an “ugly black bastard” on the flight from Barcelona to London Stansted has sparked outrage and has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook.

The row apparently broke out after the woman was unable to move out of her aisle seat quickly enough to let the man sit down in his window seat.

The video, shot by UK resident David Lawrence, shows the man shouting at the woman to move seats, while her daughter tells him her mother is disabled.

He replies: “I don’t care whether she’s f****** disabled or not – if I tell her to get out she gets out.”

The flight attendant then asks the woman if she would like to move to another seat and the woman tells him she would like to sit near her daughter.

The man interjects: “Move her to another seat … I can’t get in while she’s sat there.”

The woman responds: “You smell. You need a wash.”

Then, the man says: “If you don’t go to another seat, I’ll push you to another seat.”

Later in the argument, he says: “Don’t talk to me in a f****** foreign language you stupid ugly cow.”

A fellow passenger tries to intervene, asking the man to stop being abusive.

But the man says: “I will carry on as far as I can with this ugly black bastard.”

The flight attendant says the man is being “super rude” and tells him to calm down, while a number of passengers on the flight call for the man to be removed from the flight.

The Ryanair employee tells the man that the airline does not tolerate abusive behaviour and says he will discuss the matter further with his supervisor.

However, staff purportedly allowed him to stay on the flight.

A number of politicians voiced their concern at Ryanair’s apparent lack of action.

Labour MP for East Hull and shadow attorney general Karl Turner tweeted: “He should have been removed from the flight and handed over to the police.

“We assume the aircraft was in the UK. If it was he definitely committed criminal offences. I fully expect Ryanair to confirm the situation if in fact it was their flight.”

MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde Stuart McMillan posted: “This is really appalling Ryanair. You will know the identity of the man and the level of training given to your staff.”

Fellow MSP politician Margaret Ferrier said: “Just watched the shocking footage on a Ryanair aircraft, utterly disgusting. Racist male passenger should have been put off flight before it departed.

“Flight attendant incapable of responding appropriately. However well done to passenger with black T-shirt that intervened.”

In a later tweet she said the woman had been referred to Ryanair’s customer services, describing the response as “a joke”.

“CEO Michael O’Leary should be calling them to apologise profusely for the incompetence of his flight attendant in handling this racial abuse incident properly,” she added.

The budget airline tweeted on Sunday that it was aware of the video and had reported the incident to Essex Police.

It added: “As this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further.”

Press Association contributed to this report